Sam Egerton buried the ghost of his 2013 Varsity dismissal with a man-of-the match display in Oxford University’s record-breaking victory over great rivals Cambridge.
The Oxford scrum-half became the first player to be sent off in 132 meetings between the two famous universities when he was shown a red card for gouging last year but made amends with the first of the Dark Blues’ six tries at Twickenham.
It was his third try in three consecutive years and he picked up the Alastair Hignall man-of-the-match award for the second time, having also won it in 2012.
Egerton said: “Last year was a huge disappointment for me. I didn’t feel it was a fitting end to my Oxford experience so I wanted to come back and redeem myself.”
Prop Lewis Anderson wrote his own piece of history as the first Oxford player to feature in five wins over Cambridge as they recorded the biggest winning margin since the fixture was first played in 1872.
“I’m delighted,” said Anderson. “I don’t think it will sink in for a while. I’m hoping to come back next year and make it six in a row.” The rout started after ten minutes when Cambridge were caught cold at a ruck and after turning the ball over, Egerton broke clear from inside his own half. The 22-year-old had scored in last year’s fixture between the two sides before being dismissed in the second half.
Stand-off George Cullen kicked the conversion as Oxford settled the quicker of the two sides.
Donald Stevens clawed three points back for Cambridge with a penalty but Cullen restored Oxford’s seven-point advantage shortly after with one of his own.
A second Stevens penalty edged Cambridge back into the contest but they were dealt a hammer blow when Oxford scored their second try a minute before half-time.
After working their way across the field, Dark Blues centre Alexander Macdonald powered over. Cullen converted to give Oxford an 11-point lead at the break.
Cambridge stand-off Stevens was stretchered off two minutes into the second half as the Light Blues’ defence started to unravel. Stevens had suffered an injury in last year’s Varsity Match and without their playmaker once again Cambridge were struggling to get out of their own half.
With Oxford in full control, lock Tom Reeson-Price got their third try in the corner and just four minutes later the Dark Blues were across the whitewash again. This time prop Ian Williams finished off a good passage of play following breaks by Fraser Heathcote and captain Jacob Taylor.
Oxford’s impressive half-back pairing of Egerton and Cullen then combined to slice open the Cambridge defence, with Cullen getting their fifth. There was still time for one more try as Oxford flanker Gus Jones made the most of a tired Cambridge back-line to touch down in the corner. Cullen added the extras to seal an historic victory for the Dark Blues.
Cambridge captain Harry Peck said: “I am sure we will feel the backlash from the old boys after such a heavy defeat but we could not have given it anymore.”
Scorers: Oxford: Tries: Egerton, Macdonald, Reeson-Price, Williams, Cullen, Jones. Conv: Cullen (5). Pens: Cullen. Cambridge: Pens: Stevens (2).
Oxford University: J Taylor, E Doe (H Hughes 52), M Janney (B Strang 69), A Macdonald, H Lamont, G Cullen, S Egerton (H de Berker 77); L Anderson (J Scaife 78), N Gardner (J Wisson 77), I Williams (G Western 78), F Taylor (G MacGilchrist 78), T Reeson-Price, F Heathcote, G Jones (R Weir 78), G Messum.
Cambridge University: S Allen, I Cherezov, T May, F Gillies, G Smith (A Rees 60), D Stevens (J Wylde 42), H Peck (S Tullie 71); W Briggs (O Exton 64), T Pascoe (M Montgomery 69), J Poulton (F Sanders 64), J Baker, R Hall, R Bartholomew (C O’Sullivan 62), H Kelly (D Dass 69), S Farmer.
Referee: L Pearce. Att: 25,176.